Collection: New Year’s Concert 2009

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COMPOSERS: Collection: New Year’s Concert 2009
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Works by J Strauss I, J Strauss II, Josef Strauss, Hellmesberger II and Haydn
PERFORMER: Vienna Philharmonic/Daniel Barrenboim
CATALOGUE NO: 478 1133

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This year, Daniel Barenboim took his first Vienna New Year assignment in 20 years, conducting the city’s venerable Philharmonic. It throws up interesting music-making, the conductor’s strong romantic streak making him more than usually liable to weave poetic magic from the many lingeringly expressive episodes in the Strauss family’s music. Witness, for example, the heady surges of glorious string tone punctuating ‘Rosen aus dem Süden’.

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Barenboim can sparkle too, of course – ‘Freikugeln’ goes off like the eponymous hail of bullets, and ‘Unter Donner und Blitz’ bangs and crackles with the best of them. There’s a nod to bicentenarian Haydn (the poignant, affecting finale of his Farewell Symphony, marred on CD by audience chuckles at the musicians departing), then the Philharmonic take it home with irresistible renditions of the Blue Danube and Radetzky March. Has a more generously entertaining and life-enhancing corpus of music ever been written? Terry Blain